Meet Pete Brown: beer jounalist, beer drinker and author of an irreverent book about British beer, Man Walks Into A Pub. One day, Pete’s world is rocked when he discovers several countries produce, consume and celebrate beer far more than we do. The Germans claim they make the best beer in the world, the Australians consider its consumption a patriotic duty, the Spanish regard lager as a trendy youth drink and the Japanese have built a skyscrapter in the shape of a foaming glass of their favourite brew. At home, meanwhile, people seem to be turning their back on the great British pint. What’s going on?
Obviously, the only way to find out was to on the biggest pub crawl ever. Drinking in more than three hundred bars, in twenty-seven towns, in thirteen different countries, on four different continents, Pete puts on a stone in weight and does irrecoverable damage to his health in the pursuit of saloon-bar enlightenment.
Behind the Blurb
After the success of Man Walks Into A Pub my editor said, “Why don’t you write a beer travel book? You’d be really good at that.” He didn’t know I was a Crap Traveller. At the start of the research for the book I was overwhelmed by the prospect of catching a bus into the centre of Dublin from the suburbs. But by the end I’d figured out how to arrive in a country with brewery tours, itineraries and meetings all arranged, and this revealed that beer is a much more insightful way of travelling the world than simply following the tourist route: ask people about beer, and they’ll tell you the truth about their culture.
I did all that travelling in 2004. This was the year that the media invented the moral panic of ‘binge drinking’. The backdrop to the book is that while I was away, newspapers at home were getting into a froth that Britain was drinking itself to death, and that the 2003 Licensing Act which supposedly ushered in ’24 hour drinking’ was going to lead to the fall of civilization. (The fact that alcohol consumption and binge drinking behaviour has fallen in the UK has fallen steadily since the Act’s introduction in 2005 tends not to be reported too much by these same papers).
Many of the countries I visited for this book drink far more alcohol – and specifically beer – per capita than Britain, yet had few of the supposed problems we had. As well as having a lot of fun that resulted in what is, in my opinion, the funniest of my books so far, I think I was able to demonstrate that anti-social drinking is not tied to how much you drink, or how widely available booze is, but deeper societal issues of which binge drinking is a symptom, not the cause.
Best Beer Travel Writing, British Guild of Beer Writers Awards 2006